Making a career change can be a painful process for some job seekers and career changers. Recently, I was contacted by Antonia G. who was making a major career move. Her question was about making the move from the military into the private sector.

Q: I served in the military for quite some time now and I am trying to make a move into the private sector. How can I make the move from the military to the private sector as easy as possible?

A: When you make a career change into a new industry, your approach needs to be more personal. So:

• Develop a solid network. Your network is something you should have and maintain throughout your career anyway.
• Conduct some research on prospective employers, their competitors, their associates, and affiliations to include in your network of contacts.
• Since most jobs (it can be anywhere from 40% and 80%) are found through the hidden/unadvertised job market, your network plays a critical role - meaning they are your eyes and ears.
• If your network gets wind of a job opening ask that they inform you ASAP. You might even want to give members of your network a copy of your resume.
• Reach out to employers. Knock on doors. Make phone calls. Request informational interviews - if employers don't have an opening now, they may in the future. If you make a great impression, you can easily become a contender for future jobs.

Q: What do I do with my resume?

A: In your case, your resume should give the employer an overview of your strengths and accomplishments. You will want to:

• Start by leveraging your military expertise as well as your leadership abilities and strengths such as discipline - highlight your best traits in your resume as well as your cover letter.
• Tailor your resume to each position for which you apply. It is easy if your resume is developed properly in the first place.
• Avoid filling your resume and cover letter with military lingo and military acronyms. You want your resume to showcase your expertise but you want it to be in line with what the employer wants.

The above should give you a sense of just how important your network is to your job search. At its most basic, networking is the method by which a person creates relationships with business contacts.

A common misconception surrounding networking is that it is just the act of meeting people and then handing out as many business cards as possible. However, an essential element of networking is that it is more about identifying the right people to add to your network and maintaining ongoing relationships. In essence, it is deciding who out of every person you meet and interact with is actually best suited, and then keeping long-term relationships.

Now you've got some great tools in your job search arsenal. In addition to a solid network, you have a background full of leadership and discipline - qualities most people in the private sector don't have. And, you clearly show how you are an excellent fit for each job for which you apply - you are able to do that because your resume and cover letter are tailored perfectly to the job.

Remember, it is not necessary for you to look at your military experience as a problem that you have to overcome. Use your best qualities to your advantage, showcase your strengths and accomplishments in your resume and cover, and you will easily edge out your competition.

Making a career change can be overwhelming for some. If you have questions, be sure to direct them to Patricia, an expert on the topic of career change. She discusses the ins and outs of career change in detail in her new book entitled Career Management Guide: A Practical Approach To Career Change In Any Economy.

Author's Bio: 

Patricia is a highly regarded career management expert and certified professional resume writer with over twelve years of executive recruiting and coaching experience. She partners with career changers and job seekers to design strategies that transform careers. Patricia has helped clients to navigate toward their true career aspirations as well as finding purpose and personal fulfillment.

For information about career change coaching options and resume pricing at And, before your next interview, be sure to check out A Vita Career Management's blog to claim your SmartJOB Tracker software at